ELMIRA, N.Y. — Prior to the academic year ending at Elmira College, several Soaring Eagle student-athletes volunteered their time and efforts at the Super Regional Track & Field Special Olympics event held on Saturday, May 6, in Geneseo, New York. Over 30 EC student-athletes packed inside a college bus to spend the day ensuring the 2017 installment of the event ran smoothly and was an enjoyable environment for the Special Olympians.
Helping organize Elmira’s efforts was Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) Secretary & Treasurer Megan Fitzgerald ’18, who after meeting Special Olympic representative Josh Dority at the Empire 8 Conference Summit back in late January of this year decided to make EC’s involvement a priority.
“Volunteering for the Special Olympics is such a rewarding and eye-opening experience,” said Fitzgerald. “Those who participate in the Special Olympics are true athletes who are dedicated to their sport just as much as any other athlete.”
Elmira’s involvement with the event began with the opening ceremony in which EC volunteers split up and marched with the Special Olympians. Fitzgerald, along with men’s ice hockey captain Brent Lafayette ’19, served as torch runners with one of the competing athletes from Keshequa Central School. Afterword, EC student-athletes helped serve as heat judges, markers, measurers, retrievers, and score keepers for the softball throw, one of many events that took place throughout the day.
“Volunteering for the Special Olympics helps dispel any preexisting stereotypes,” Fitzgerald stated. “I hoped for our volunteers to realize that what we experience as athletes is no different from what the Special Olympic athletes experience; anxiety before they compete, disappointment when they don’t win, and the pride of successes. The amount of passion and joy these athletes shared, not only for the sport they were competing in, but more importantly for one another, was incredibly heartwarming. I not only wanted our volunteers to learn to appreciate the advantages that we have been given in this life, but also to realize that there is always joy and love for the game. Sometimes, we just need a little help remembering it.”
To learn more please visit: http://athletics.elmira.edu/news/2017/5/26/general-elmira-college-student-athletes-volunteer-at-special-olympics.aspx?path=general